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Carnival Ride/No Carnival

My first reaction is to put Ben in park while
hanging upside down.
Ben is my first new car and is
in the middle of the road sideways
like a plaque clogged artery forcing all movement
to stop.

The crash was a macabre dance of slow-motion destruction.
Front loading washer on the delicate cycle.
Passengers tossed like a mixed salad in a fruit bowl
of limbs, papers, car debris and hair.

The soundtrack to my slow-motion sideshow is the
grinding of enameled metal on broken asphalt.
Gravel drag punctuated with the beat
of the pulsing turn signal.

I push the button and fall on my head
crumpled on the roof now floor of my car and
pour myself into the intersection.

I was talking and ran the stop sign.
Two passengers
birthed through the rear hatchback delivered into the world
glazed and wide eyed and
I am on my knees fishing through broken glass
hoping to not slice anything open
scrambling to retrieve my things before vultures descend.

Family arrives to pull me together.
Scotch tape and packing string.
My brother tries to calm me with teasing,
“So you turtled your car and the wheels are still spinning.”
My mother attends to the work:
police, insurance, hospital.

Check list of passengers:
I’m ok
Jeff’s ok
Amy needs an x-ray of her back
next stop
Greenville Memorial Hospital then home for all.

Saltines for dinner.
Turn up the furnace I’m cold.

In my red flannel sheets I hear the
moment of impact
I feel the
blow to the right rear stopping everything.
I hear
the silence.
I feel the car and see
the world turn in a slow motion circle.

Dark Cerulean blue streak left on the crossroad
in some neighborhood in Greenville South Carolina
as a remnant of my reckless ride with Ben and
he didn’t survive.




Sharon Harper lives in Springfield, Missouri with poodles and cicadas and long hot summer days. She writes for a sense of clarity and fascination and wonder. Besides words, Sharon also likes to sculpt clay and figure out ideas in mixed media drawing.

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